Jacob de Berker is a singer-songwriter that comes from my personal hometown of Bristol (go Bristol talent! Even if he does live in London now) and last month, he released his debut self titled EP. Jacob takes inspirations from the likes of singer-songwriter/sentimental types :Bon Iver, Bowerbirds, Iron & Wine, Sufjan Stevens, Elliott Smith and it shows with the way that this guy carries his material.
From the get-go, you get a sense of care and fragility with the EP, due partly to the fact that the whole project is self-funded (so buy his music and help him out!) and the recordings all feel very intimate; the artist himself said that the songs were either recorded in a friend’s front room, or the cabin of his own boat. It’s this, coupled with the love and care that has gone into crafting his art and voice of art that makes this EP a very serene and blissful listen.
Drinking Song is the name of Jacob de Berker’s first track here and it’s got a simple little guitar progression that’s very playful (suits the the more upbeat tempo) with some gentle hand percussion. It’s a good enough way to start an EP, but Lacob has plenty more to lay upon your ears.
Jacob also dabbles in different instrumentation, by bringing a banjo in on Move, to assist his lovely vocal capabilities. The times he harmonises with himself on this song are sparse, but effective and add an extra layer of warmth to the track to Move and No Captain. I’d love to see him explore this in further releases since it seems to work rather well.
His vocals also gleam through, in a different way, on Butterfly Nets. You hear a little dabble of accent leaning out and that’s great! To me it really makes the song sound that bit more real. It’s also on this song that a very specific lyric stuck out: “So if you see us stumbling round with butterfly nets, we’re just trying to catch the moments, we don’t want to forget.”
Now, don’t get me wrong, this EP is full of lovely sentiments, like the whole “Splitting lips is just another way to give blood.” line on Drinking Song, great, but the Butterfly Nets one got me.
The song No Captain feels like it puts a slight change of pace in the EP with some more hearty lyrics, but I feel like it’s overshadowed by the next song, which, I feel, is the best on this EP.
Daffodils is a wonderful sentiment that Jacob de Berker has sent into the world that perfectly characterises his music. It’s careful, well written and moving, especially if you have the lyrics in front of you. Everything about this song is peace, I adore the ambient sounds near the end of the track, they sound so safe and cosy. What I think makes this song, and a few others, so effective, are the lyrics. They’re personal enough to mean something to Jacob, but also open ended enough for people to draw their own stories.
Very striking and clever.
Jacob de Berker’s self titled is an EP you won’t soon forget, just invite it in and let it sink into your skin.